Mugabe ignored coup warnings: Jonathan Moyo

FORMER President Robert Mugabe was forewarned about the coup that would topple him from power, but distrusted those who warned him and believed his then deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa and former Defence Forces commander Constantino Chiwenga would never betray him, a former Cabinet minister has said.


In a wide-ranging interview with the Big Saturday Read published at the weekend by Alex Magaisa, former Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo said Mugabe considers what his two former lieutenants did a “great betrayal” and “the utmost treachery”.

“… although he got various reports from different sources about the planning of the coup, President Mugabe did not believe those reports because he trusted Mnangagwa and Chiwenga more than he trusted those who gave him the reports,” he said of the November 2017 coup that toppled Mugabe.

“It is my considered judgment that President Mugabe genuinely and truly believed that Mnangagwa and Chiwenga would never countenance toppling him from power.”
Moyo said he would give a detailed account of the events in the two books he was writing why Mugabe did not believe Chiwenga and Mnangagwa would be associated with the military action to topple him from power.
Moyo said if Mugabe had heeded the warnings, the November 2017 coup would have been stopped, adding that the coup plotters took a risk and were even surprised that it had paid off.
He said Mugabe did not believe his ouster from power would go ahead after his engagement with Chiwenga, who seemed more concerned about his security of tenure and Zanu PF succession, which he wanted settled at the December 2017 special congress.

“In fact, Chiwenga wanted President Mugabe to remain in office to serve out his term, but to hand over leadership of the party at a special Zanu PF congress.”

Moyo, who was forced to flee from his house and seek shelter at Mugabe’s “Blue Roof” mansion, said if the soldiers had found him at home in the wee hours of November 15, 2017, they would have killed him.

“There was no question of arresting me. Chiwenga’s soldiers were on a mission to kill me,” he said.

He said while he could not use the information he had to pre-empt the coup, he used it to whisk his family to safety because his house “had been earmarked as a death trap for me with unknown risks to my family”, in light of how it was intruded by soldiers.

He said while specific actions by the army — many of which were ad hoc or spontaneous and unknown — plans of the coup itself were known.

Moyo said when he spoke about the coup plot in the politburo in July 2017, during which he presented a video on the plot, Mnangagwa threatened to kill him.

He said he would detail the fatalities recorded during the course of the coup in his forthcoming books.

“What I can say for now is that President Mugabe was told of fatalities by security organs the day he officiated his last State university graduation ceremony as Chancellor at Zimbabwe Open University during the coup on November 17, 2018. Otherwise, yes, there were fatalities and the truth will soon or later come out as it always does,” he said.

On the June 30 elections that sought to sanitise Mnangagwa’s presidency, Moyo said all the three conflicting results declared by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and endorsed by the Constitutional Court showed that half of the electorate did not support Mnangagwa.

“This point should be emphasised. Mnangagwa does not have the majority support of the electorate and that is why he has a legitimacy crisis. He is a divisive leader with divided support, in power only because of the military that installed him in the first place,” he said.

“The July 30 elections bestowed on Mnangagwa only a veneer of legality, not in terms of the rule of law, but in terms of rule by law. The legal rules that were used to organise and run the July 30 elections were superintended by a coup government that came into power via the gun.”

Moyo said Mnangagwa and Chiwenga were baying for his blood and had been pursuing him “under false Zimdef [Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund] allegations”.

Turning to former First Lady Grace Mugabe, Moyo dismissed claims he was behind her campaign against Mnangagwa.

“But the presumption that anyone, especially a person like me, could become the brains behind Mrs Mugabe is preposterous … Becoming the brains behind Mrs Mugabe would have meant coming between the President and his spouse. That would have been reckless and suicidal,” he said.

“The proposition that the coup was done to stop Mrs Mugabe from succeeding her husband is uncivilised and undemocratic. But on whether I understood people’s concerns that Mrs Mugabe could have ended up on the wheel, the answer is yes, of course, I did. How could I not? I, however, think that people should have been equally concerned about Mnangagwa ending up on the wheel.”

Moyo also said the United Kingdom and China supported the coup that swept Mnangagwa to power, and described former British ambassador Catriona Laing as “a coup busybody”.

“I would not be surprised to learn that her CV now lists ‘toppling Mugabe, who appeared invincible’, as her most outstanding diplomatic feat in her career,” Moyo said.

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  1. Mugabe was suppose to rest and I don’t understand why a person like him old as he was could keep clinging to power !! We must applaud Chiwenga that he managed to do what Tsvangirai and his Mdc had failed to do for a long time !! Change of leadership is very necessary for the country’s development unlike the ancient type of politics where a leader is allowed to be on power for 37 years !! Mugabe was sort of a King and that was not good for the country !!

    1. Why are we being told about the coup and who is writing about it, from what source. The opposition party writing books about the ruling party, what do you expect, horror, one sided stories, lies, scandals and so on. Jonathan Moyo is looking for relevancy to the readers and the Zimbabwean opposition party members. The spin doctor crafted dirty tricks against the opposition parties in Zimbabwe and now he wants to join them but will start from the coup story, be careful fellow Zimbabweans of the wolves in sheep skins.

  2. @Levison. i wish there was a liketick. i would have liked your comment.i dont understand Moyo’s obsession with having Mugabe remain in power. God allowed Mugabe to go. nothing would have stopped that.

  3. The coup was long ovedue .They should have done it sooner to free the people of Zimbabwe. He was only there as President to serve a few.How can anyone in their right mind think that a 93 year man old can run a country effectively. The chage was good for the country. You don’t know how nuch we danced that day more than i did at Rufaro Stadium in April 1980.Thanks Chiwenga for that.

  4. yes, first was to make sure we see a new person on guard at state house.zvimwe zvozotevera

  5. Why Moyo now is going to private press? He used to raid private newspapers and he must go back to state media and vomit his trash. MUNHU WESE WE ZANU IMH@TA. ONCE A ZANU ALWAYS A ZANU. ND MUST NOT INTERVIEW THIS MAN BECOZ VERY SOON, HE WILL ATTACK YOU AFTER REJOINING ZANU. MAPFUMO ONCE SAID: ‘MWANA WE NYOKA INYOKA, USATAMBE NAYO’.

  6. If my memory serves me well, the prof was in the forefront of provoking the military and dividing the nation, resulting in a series of events which led to the targeting of all government employees thought to be Mnangagwa’s loyalists. The situation got so tense that it became a do or die situation for the other faction resulting in the toppling of the former head. The prof got fully emersed in the business of fighting inocent people and he expected them to keep folding their hands! Anyway it’s now water under the bridge and let’s move on. Wether what hapened should be called a coup or whatever, hanya nani chidhoma chekwachivi. Kkkkkkkkkkkkk.

  7. Comment…True, change is needed but is it change for the sake of change or for the better? The big question is are we better off under the junta than we were under the old man. Today is the first anniversary when the junta moved into streets of Harare. Pasi nejunta.

  8. Moyo is betraying the Ndebeles by keeping quiet on the issue of the Gukurahundi. He is a dumwit.

  9. Far from Moyo’s political inclination that vividly manifests, I equally question whether the end justifies the means in Mugabe’s dismissal.
    We may not have achieved the much yearned change but it remains to be seen whether we at still on track.

  10. What has really changed? Nothing much imho. A black govt replaced a white govt is 1980, their idea of freedom was strange. Over 20k lost their lives.
    A surrogate clique removed the head of state and replaced him with one of their own. The idea of freedom still remains the same – a limited, curtailed version of submission under duress, extortion and blackmail. 7 citizens are dead.
    Personally I will only celebrate when there is true, unfettered freedom – from free & fair state Radio & TV broadcasts through to no-holds-barred newspapers. We have a tethered freedom at present.

  11. Jonso’s analysis is poor . He says Mugabe trusted ED and Chiwenga . Does firing Ed mean trust ? Jonso should admit that they were caught napping .Mugabe and company were too comfortable and reckless too. If Mugabe had not fired ED , may be he could have continued in power . ED was obviously waiting for his time since he was in position to take over .The challenge was with those who were against ED’s take over . These are the people who caused the chaos in Zanu PF and Jonso was leading that group . Unfortunately you were fighting people who had seen it all from before , during and after the war .

    1. to remove Mr MUGABE was the best move Chiwenga did but he shld have done it for the pipol not for zanu coz as it stands now it seems as if nothing has changed and during Mugabe’s tym lyf was not good but better than the current situation

  12. I agree with Moyo’s analysis, Mugabe all along trusted ED even when he was warned against doing so. Shit hit the roof when there was organised booing of Grace at the White City so called meet the youth rally. That’s when it dawned on Mugabe that indeed something was brewing and he started to act rather belatedly. He was bitten to his plan of anoiting Sekeramayi at the Congress that was due that December 2017. At the end Mugabe’s departure and Munangagwa’s arrival have not changed anything on the socio-economic being of the country

  13. Why are we being told about the coup and who is writing about it, from what source. The opposition party writing books about the ruling party, what do you expect, horror, one sided stories, lies, scandals and so on. Jonathan Moyo is looking for relevancy to the readers and the Zimbabwean opposition party members. The spin doctor crafted dirty tricks against the opposition parties in Zimbabwe and now he wants to join them but will start from the coup story, be careful fellow Zimbabweans of the wolves in sheep skins.

  14. The Way Forward Zimbabwe

    Moyo really looking for some relevance here – cheap relevance. It’s common knowledge that in his political career, Mugabe trusted and used anyone foolish enough to keep him in power – hence the foolish ministers who hung around him for 37 years, destroying the country. The current President hoped Mugabe would see reason, and give way to his chance. Thank God the current President would see Mugabe’s chicanery from the mid 2000s on-wards, until the two each staked their real intentions, with Mugabe finally attempting to kill ED and failing, and finally kicking him out; while apparently a coup was being organised.

  15. Tragically ED has performed so badly that life was actually much better under Mugabe. 1 year of ED in power & for example our teachers are now the most poorly paid in the whole world. What a disgrace

  16. How can Jonathan claim to know how the coup was planned and yet failed to stop it?? It is now open knowledge that a majority of the CIO organs were working with Jonathan and Sekeramayi was Min of Defence with Chombo as Min of Home Affairs and Chihuri in charge of ZRP and Bonyongwe at CIO and yet they FAILED to detect and stop the coup??? Chinonetsa Jonathan kubvuma kuti pamwe anombokundwawo kufunga in his mind he is the greatest thinker and politician ever..full stop

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